Activision Blizzard shareholder calls company's response to lawsuit 'inadequate'


An investment group is calling for changes to be made

SOC, an investment group and shareholder in Activision Blizzard, released a letter criticizing the game publisher’s response to the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

As reported by Axios, the investment group says Activision Blizzard’s recent promises to improve the workplace culture at the company do not go “nearly far enough to address the deep and widespread issues with equity, inclusion, and human capital management.”

The letter from SOC executive director Dieter Waizeneggar highlights that “no changes” have been announced that would alter the current process for filling vacancies, either on the board of directors or senior management, and no changes regarding executive pay. It also points out Wilmer Hale being brought on for review, describing it as a firm that has a “sterling reputation as a defender of the wealthy and connected, but it has no track record of uncovering wrongdoing.”

SOC is calling for Activision Blizzard to increase board diversity by adding a woman director, “preferably one with a history of advocacy for marginalized people and communities” by the end of 2021, and commit to gender-balance on the board by 2025 and reserve at least one board seat for an employee-selected representative.

It also calls for Activision Blizzard to award no bonuses for 2021 and to “claw back” bonuses from executives found to have engaged in or enabled abusive behavior, and make future bonuses contingent on the company achieving independently verified milestones for diversity. Finally, it calls for a company-wide Equity Review, similar to Racial Equity Reviews that Facebook, AirB&B, Starbucks, and BlackRock have promised.

“At this critical juncture in Activision Blizzard’s history, we urge you and the board to push beyond the inadequate response from management and take the steps necessary to protect our investment from the financial, operational, and reputational risks that have come to the fore over the past week,” said Waizeneggar.

Employees have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the company’s response, calling for their own demands to be met and organizing a walkout. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick called the company’s response “tone deaf,” though organizers pushed back on the CEO’s promised responses.

You can find screencaps of the full letter on Twitter here.